as the year draws to a close, city year asks all corps members to do a personal reflection project. i decided to write a letter to younger myself . more specifically, the person i was before city year began. i presented this to fellow co workers also serving in south los angeles schools a couple of weeks ago. enjoy..
May 2, 2013
it’s been quite a chapter so far! looking back, relocating 2,000 miles away from your hometown with only two weeks notice was absolutely mental! but God had been preparing your heart for this transition since 2012 (probably even before that.) and even though you have only lived in los angeles for seven months so far, it has surprisingly become “home.” what is making this so? it is, without a shadow of a doubt, the people. people you crossed paths with briefly, people with whom you developed friendships, and people you have yet to meet! sure, the lack of humidity and the sight of snowcapped mountains are a plus, but without the relationships you’ve fostered, los angeles is just another place on the map.
soon, you will be embarking on a brand new season! which simultaneously is nerve-racking and exhilarating. there will be a difference between this next chapter and the current one. different characters, different plot, different setting, different theme. there is a reason why you found city year when you did. a reason why your interview process went so smoothly. a reason why there’s this peace you cannot explain. this is exactly where you are supposed to be. people are going to say otherwise, your circumstances will too, but nothing will ever change your calling.
i’m not going to lie or sugarcoat anything: this will be difficult. there will be trials and struggles and doubts and fears. the big moments of those who mean the most will happen without you. you will miss weddings, new births, and graduations. you will feel lonely and alone even when you are surrounded by people every minute of the day. there will be moments you feel out of God’s love, like your spiritual growth has come to a halt. you will feel inadequate as though nothing you do or say will make an impact on your students, your team, your school, your community. close friends will leave LA and you will question whether you should too. sometime in the year, you suddenly realize you are living two lives. and your desperate attempts to keep them separate are exhausting. your days will be determined by the successes and failures of your students until you understand that your value and worth do not rest upon something so conditional. it will one of the most trying and stretching seasons of your life, but if it was so unbearable, i wouldn’t be writing to you today.
you do not need to go through this by yourself. i know this is how you operate, because you do not want to be a burden to others. but you will be surrounded by people you love you. you will have four wonderful roommates to live life with. you will have friends in los angeles that understand your strange schedule and still want to be your friend. you will keep in touch with people from home, not regularly, but the times you do connect are precious. lastly, you will have sixteen crazy brilliant people attempting to form a tight circle next to you.
the lives of others that have collided into yours will teach you grace: what it truly means and how you desperately need it every single day. you learn that it is the only thing that will renew your soul and how it reaches to you in the darkest of times. grace is not only important in your life, but it is vital to extend to others, simply because it has been extended to you. this is familiar; you know this already. but this year you are taught the power of grace and how enables you to do things you never imagine doing. like being patient with the social security administration and department of homeland security not approving your citizenship status. or genuinely loving others who hold completely different beliefs than you. or forgiving those who hurt you. or asking for forgiveness from God when you mess up terribly. or even sharing all of this in front of 79 people.
between building relationships and learning new things, there is a time when you forget about your purpose and identity. when you forget why you are here, please remember you have a serving heart and a contagious passion that equips you to carry out your calling. and when you forget who are you are, please remember: in Christ, you are greatly loved and accepted. and that becca, is the truest thing about you. so go and be you.